Why Clorox made a basketball documentary

Clorox Canada has released a short film called “Keeper: The Patrick Shaw Story,” about a Toronto community leader and coach who kept his girls basketball team on the court during the pandemic—with some help from Clorox.

The nearly 15-minute documentary shares the story of Shaw, who contributes in multiple ways to the Jane and Finch community in Toronto, including working as community liaison for Black Creek Community Health Centre, and executive director of My Brothers & Sisters Keeper Youth Organization—which runs the Sisters Keeper basketball program for elite, though underprivileged, girls basketball players.

Most of the documentary focuses on the basketball team, its importance to girls in the community—many of whom hope for college scholarships—and how devastating it was to be shut down during the early days of the pandemic.

Through his connections in public health and work with BlackNorth, Shaw was able to connect with Clorox—which sent him handheld Clorox sprayers so he could clean the gym quickly and more efficiently to ensure the girls could get back on the court safely (at a time when there was still a great deal of concern that Covid could spread through surface contact).

While it feels like a consumer-facing project, it’s actually a B2B campaign for CloroxPro, the division focused on healthcare and other professional settings. The film has been posted to YouTube, and can also be viewed at CloroxPro.ca, and is being promoted on Linkedin.

As the professional division of Clorox, CloroxPro targets infection control and environmental services professionals at a range of facilities—from hospitals and long-term care facilities, to schools, office facilities, athletic centres, etc., said Chris Budinszky, vice-president marketing, for The Clorox Company of Canada.

“[We] are always looking for opportunities to celebrate the great and important work they’re doing in our community,” said Budinszky. “We do so through storytelling, testimonials, and partner activities… This is just one more way to showcase how cleaning and disinfection of public spaces is a catalyst for amazing things.

“As we’ve had the chance to get to know Patrick more, learn more about Sisters Keeper basketball and the community centre and community he serves, we thought that this was a story that needed to be shared,” he added. “Patrick embodies the values that CloroxPro shares—to do the right thing, to put people at the centre, and to play to win.”

The Clorox brand does not actually appear until the film’s mid-point, and is very much a supporting character to Shaw and his story—although the brand messaging is unmistakably present: “You can’t go wrong with Clorox,” says one of the players as she describes the cleaning routines, for example. There’s also a short segment about how CloroxPro provided a sprayer for the Black Creek Health Centre.

Ketchum was the creative agency for the project, while the film was shot by Toronto-based Tingle Creative. “It’s not always so easy to seamlessly fit a brand into a lifestyle story,” said Graham Tingle, owner and creative director. “But in this case the partnership between Clorox Pro and Patrick Shaw’s efforts to continue his work for the players and his community during the pandemic went hand-in-hand.

“Nothing needed to be forced in the edit or in Patrick’s recounting of his story,” he added. “And to make things even easier, the client and agency were equally aligned with keeping everything genuine.”

David Brown